Friday, July 18, 2014

Is it Really About doing what's right for ALL county residents?

According to this Tampa Tribune article from July 16,
Hillsborough County took a first step today toward enshrining civil rights protections for gay, lesbian and transgender residents.
By a unanimous vote, county commissioners set in motion an amendment that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification.
Hillsborough County Commission
Why should our county commission be focusing solely on the LGBT community?  

There have been studies that show employers have discriminated against those who are overweight.
On average, a person’s chances of being discriminated against because of weight become higher as their body weight increases. In our study, 10 percent of overweight women reported weight discrimination, 20 percent of obese women reported weight discrimination and 45 percent of very obese women reported weight discrimination.
Other studies have shown discrimination based on one's attractiveness and those who discriminate against persons who are not attractive looking.
....a survey of hiring managers, 57% of whom said qualified but unattractive candidates will have a harder time landing a job.
Ironically the Tribune recently published this article Agency toughens protections for pregnant workers  to enforce no discrimination against those who are pregnant.
Pregnant women have new protections against on-the-job discrimination. 
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has updated 30-year-old guidelines to make clear that any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against pregnant workers by employers is a form of sex discrimination and illegal.
The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website states:
The EEOC enforces the prohibitions against employment discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information, as well as reprisal for protected activity. The Commission's interpretations of these statutes apply to its adjudication and enforcement in federal sector as well as private sector and state and local government employment.
The EEOC has held that discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender (also known as gender identity discrimination) is discrimination because of sex and therefore is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The State of Florida created the Florida Commission on Human Relations as part of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1969.  It's mission is:
To prevent unlawful discrimination by ensuring that all people in Florida are treated fairly and have access to opportunities in employment, housing and certain public accommodations...
These protections are already covered by other laws at the state and federal level. But what Commissioner Beckner's proposed change will do is affect county government contracting and procurement as the Tribune reports:
If the commission ultimately approves the amended ordinance, it will prohibit discrimination for the newly covered groups in connection with employment, public accommodations, real estate transactions, and county contracting and procurement.
We have contracting set asides today for protected classes, minority and women, so will this proposal force set asides for those who are LGBT?  How will this change be administered and enforced?  How will one know if one is LGBT? Will there be a new indicator somewhere on your drivers license or will the county be knocking on your bedroom door? Will it raise the cost to the taxpayer and the county?  Will this raise the cost of doing business? What is the cost associated with this change? Could it encourage fraud?

What percentage of our population is this change targeting?  The Washington Post reported about a recent health interview survey by the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) measuring American's sexual orientation and providing its first large-scale data on gay, bisexual population:
The National Health Interview Survey, which is the government’s premier tool for annually assessing Americans’ health and behaviors, found that 1.6 percent of adults self-identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent consider themselves bisexual.
The CDC has done surveys regarding being overweight and obesity in America:
  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 35.1% (2011-2012)
  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight, including obesity: 69.0% (2011-2012)
In Florida, the CDC reports the prevalence of self-reported obesity is about 25% of our state population.

This New York Times article from 2011 reports study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third — a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000.
....why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?
We have witnessed targeting and discrimination based on one's political and religious views, even by our own government.  Just look at the IRS scandals targeting conservative and Patriot organizations.  
The Tribune reported:
Commissioner Kevin Beckner, in voting for the amendment, asked his fellow commissioners to put aside partisanship and do what was right for all the county residents. 
“It is simply about equality and about fairness, about people and good public policy, and, most of all, it’s the right thing to do,” said Beckner, the board’s first openly gay commissioner. 
If the county commission believes this change is a priority, wants to do what's right for ALL county residents and believes in equality and fairness, then they must also include language that prohibits discrimination based on one's religious or political viewpoints, one’s looks, one’s weight or if one is pregnant. And if future studies indicate discrimination against another segment of the population, those segments must be immediately added to this ordinance too. If any Commissioner supporting this change is not willing to include other segments of our population that may be discriminated against, then they are clearly not serious about doing what is right for ALL county residents.

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